- Baabwaa & Wooliam by David Elliott
ISBN 978-0-7636-6074-1 $16.99
Reviewed from galleys R 6-9 yrs
Roommates Wooliam and Baabwaa are set in their quiet ways. They enjoy their respective hobbies: reading and knitting, which are both rare for sheep. When Wooliam’s reading inspires him to suggest an adventure, the two take off in search of one and meet another sheep with a long, grizzled snout, disgusting teeth, and a dodgy wool coat. Wooliam recognizes this new critter as “that Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing I’ve read about,” and the intrigued wolf wants to know more. When Wooliam realizes that the wolf can’t read, he offers to teach him, and the three form an unlikely friendship. Reading lessons are occasionally broken up when the wolf can’t help chasing his new chums, but Baabwaa is philosophical about the situation because, after all, “all that reading and knitting has taken its toll. We can use the exercise.” The comically clipped narration adds subtle dabs of humor to this clever premise that spans adult and child interests, and Sweet’s watercolor, gouache, and mixed media illustrations fill in implied gaps. A running gag about the wolf’s dental hygiene, for instance, is picked up, carried across several scenes, and paid off long after the words drop the subject, and the newly svelte sheep end up looking just as dapper as the wolf in his new pink sweater. Lessons learned: adventures involve a lot more exercise than might be entirely comfortable, but making a new friend is worth it even for dyed-in-the-wool homebodies.